Earlier today we looked at what to expect at Facebook’s developer conference later this week. It is going to be content crazy, to say the least. Yet, there are some tectonic plates moving at Facebook that are likely not going to be featured at f8 that deserve some mention.
Essentially, Facebook has loaded up to dump one feature after another on users this week and likely for the rest of the year. The company has been on mild lockdown since July, with only reactionary announcements coming since the Skype update. Essentially, there is too much news and not enough time for a one day conference. What is going to go missing?
The Future of Digital Music:
The music landscape is evolving with new channels and innovative social experiences. Leaders in the industry will describe where things are headed.
Bob Pittman – Chairman, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment
Daniel Ek – CEO, Spotify
Troy Carter – Founder, Chairman and CEO, Atom Factory
Mobile + Social:
As mobile apps become ever more social, new opportunities are emerging. Listen to mobile developers discuss social and the future of mobile.
Paul Bettner – Vice President and General Manger, Zynga
Kristian Segerstrale – General Manager and Co-founder, Playfish
Alexa Andrzejewski – Co-Founder and CEO, Foodspotting
Billy Chasen – Co-Founder and CEO, Turntable.fm
The Rise of Social Gaming:
Social gaming is disrupting the traditional video game business. Top game executives will provide their views on the next big trends.
Barry Cottle – Executive Vice President, EA interactive, Electronic Arts
Kevin Chou – CEO, Kabam
John Pleasants – Co-President, Disney Interactive Media Group
Owen Van Natta – Chief Business Officer, Zynga
Investing in Social:
Hear leading venture capitalists discuss their views on the future of the social web.
David Sze – Partner, Greylock Partners
Matt Cohler – General Partner, Benchmark Capital
Kevin Efrusy – Partner, Accel Partners
Bing Gordon – Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
Where Is Project Spartan?
When my invite came for f8, my initial thought was that it was going to be all HTML5, all the time. The rumblings through the summer pointed to that being the case. Yet, that is not what f8 is going to be about. The Facebook f8 keynote is likely to be about content and partnerships with CEO Mark Zuckerberg talking about what is coming out in terms of the “Read, Watch, Listen” and then Facebook team members and partners elaborating on what is in the works.
A couple mobile game developers that I have talked to do not believe we will see the so-called Project Spartan mentioned during the keynote, except for maybe some comments alluding to it. Project Spartan is supposed to be Facebook’s mobile initiative focused on HTML5 development. The idea is to create a Web application store that circumvents native mobile applications such as those found in the Apple App Store and Android Market. It has the potential to be a dynamic shift if how people consume content and use applications on the Web. Game developers are leading the charge in what could be an HTML5-based Web app store. TechCrunch’s MG Siegler reported the rumors I had heard yesterday that Project Spartan will not get major play during the first half of the day at f8.
That does not mean that there will not be mobile news and announcements later in the day. There are three developer sessions later in the day related to mobile, gaming and HTML5. Two fall into the “transforming industries” category: “Mobile + Social” and “The Rise of Social Gaming.” The other is under the “Building & Growing Great Social Apps” titled “Inside HTML5 Development at Facebook.”
While the keynote will be interesting, the juiciest details will emerge from the breakout sessions.
Where Are The Credits?
Tied to Project Spartan will be new undertakings that Facebook is working on for its payments platform. There has been very little buzz (comparatively) about Facebook Credits. There is only one session regarding Credits and that falls under the “Product Q&A” session.
Credits are going to be a larger portion of Facebook’s revenue going forward. Look at Apple, it has a backbone of 200 million-plus credit cards hooked in through iTunes. That is what gives Apple the economic lubricant that makes it such a power in the technology sector. Amazon has the benefit of this as well and Google is trying to build its payments base. Reports came out today that Facebook is expected to make 89% of its money through advertising, down from 95% in 2010. That is mostly due to Credits.
Credits are a side bar story to almost everything that Facebook will announce on Thursday and in the future. While Facebook’s primary goal is to get you to share everything in your life through the platform, it will have to create a mature payments sector to take advantage of things like video rentals, in-app purchases and social game add-ons.
There is always a chance that Zuckerberg could go the Steve Jobs route and throw in as an infamous plus one. That would likely be Project Spartan motivated. If he does, that would be a major surprise to industry observers and developers. Which, would kind of be the point, wouldn’t it?